Phones and Internet in France


Phones and Internet are nowadays an essential part of everyday life. Find out, in this article, how to get connected.

If you have decided to relocate in France, you will probably want to keep in touch with your friends and family abroad. To help you bridge the distance gap, several service providers offer various types of communication packages, including land lines, mobile phones, Internet, and even cable TV. Orange, formerly France Telecom, remains the main service provider over the years despite fierce competition on the telecommunications market. So if you wish to obtain a land line or an Internet connection, you might start by inquiring with Orange.

Land lines

While Orange remains the leading land line service providers also offer attractive packages at interesting rates. The following (see in the “Useful links”) are the most popular service providers:

  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Free
  • Bouygues Telecom
  • Numéricable
  • Coriolis
  • Alice

In case your accommodation already had a land line connection, you may have to reactivate it. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a new connection. You are likely to find Orange shops almost everywhere in major cities, especially in shopping malls. If you have an Internet connection, feel free to browse the Orange website.

For reactivation or subscription, you will require the following documents:

  • your passport or an identity card which is recognized by French authorities
  • the date when you moved in your new home
  • proof of address (lease document or utility bill)
  • your floor and door number if you live in a flat
  • a contact number (so that the technician can call you on the installation or reactivation day)
  • your RIB (bank account number) in case you prefer to settle your bills via direct debit (a safe and widespread practice in France).

 Good to know:

To subscribe for a new land line or for the reactivation of a land line which has been disconnected since more than 6 months, you will pay fees of 20 to 100 Euros, depending on the service provider.

In France, phone bills are sent either each month or every two months. Feel free to request for a detailed bill so as to keep track of your consumption. As mentioned above, most subscribers prefer to settle their phone bill by direct debit. In fact, some service providers offer direct debit only.


France has a wide Internet network, including ADSL and fiber. Most service providers offer attractive packages at affordable rates. To subscribe, you may either visit your preferred service provider's shop or its website from your office or an Internet cafe.

The following documents are to be produced:

  • your passport or identity card (recognized by French authorities)
  • proof of address (lease documents or utility bill)
  • your RIB (bank account number) for direct debit purposes (a safe and widespread practice in France)

Your bill will be sent to you on a monthly basis.

Mobile phones

As regards your mobile phone line, you can choose from the following service providers:

  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Free
  • Coriolis
  • Sosh
  • Sim
  • Free
  • Bouygues Telecom
  • La Poste Mobile
  • Zéro Forfait.

To subscribe, you may perhaps turn to Orange first, just like in the case of the land line or Internet connection. Take the time to inquire on the different packages available to chose the one which best suits your needs. Feel free to visit their agencies to inquire with their agents before taking a decision. You may choose either a contract with monthly billing or a prepaid account which you can recharge according to your consumption. Consider checking their websites as well for more information on relating conditions.

In all cases, you will require the following:

  • your passport or identity card (recognized by French authorities)
  • proof of address (lease documents or utility bill)
  • your RIB (bank account number) if you prefer direct debit (which is a safe and widespread practice in France).

You might want to inquire and compare offers even before moving to France permanently. Once you are on the spot, make sure to read your contract thoroughly before signing it so as to avoid any surprises, especially in case of termination.

 Good to know:

In case of conflict, you may seek the help of several efficient associations, especially the Direction Départementale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DDCCFR) which has branches in all French departments.

 Useful links: – Telecommunications in France Forum 
Quechoisir – Comparative of Internet service providers
Ooreka – Choosing your phone service provider
Tous les forfaits – Mobile service providers
Bouygues Telecom

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